"Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong.
Be loving in everything you do." - I Corinthians 16:13-14
 

All Your Church Are Belong to Us

In an utterly astonishing display of arrogance, spin, and intimidation, Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles responds to the decision by two churches in his diocese to leave ECUSA.

In a pastoral letter (click "Continued" below to read the entire letter) he has instructed be read at every church this Sunday, Bruno says the following:

This is all the more troubling because for some time now an international commission of the Anglican Communion, established by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been hard at work attempting to respond pastorally to some of the concerns of more conservative members of the Communion who are troubled by the decisions of our last General Convention and by the blessing of same-sex unions taking place in the Church in Canada. The final report of this commission is due out in approximately one month. How disappointing that our congregations would make such a decision at such an inopportune time.
Bishop Bruno mischaracterizes the charge to the Lambeth Commission, implying that the reason it exists is primarily to offer the dysfunctional conservatives a way to deal with it. What he neglects to mention is that the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered the commission "as soon as practicable ... to make recommendations to the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, as to the exceptional circumstances and conditions under which, and the means by which, it would be appropriate for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise an extraordinary ministry of episcope (pastoral oversight), support and reconciliation with regard to the internal affairs of a province other than his own for the sake of maintaining communion with the said province and between the said province and the rest of the Anglican Communion."

In other words, how Canterbury might discipline ECUSA, not how Lambeth might "respond pastorally" to heartbroken conservatives.

The Lambeth Commission also asked both sides of this debate to hold back so that it may have some room to work. Bishop Bruno not only chose to ignore that plea, approving the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese, but he officiated at one himself, with Otis Charles in attendance. In response to that and many other such incidents, the Primate of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez, also a member of the commission, wrote chairman Robin Eames:

There is no small feeling amongst conservative members of the Communion that they are being asked to show restraint whilst the liberal agenda moves ahead, with bishops in ECUSA taking action against conservative parishes; the Church of Canada proceeding to debate the blessing of same sex unions; dioceses in the Episcopal Church actually going forward with the authorisation of such rites, and the appointment of known advocates of same sex unions to senior office in the Church of England. This is only likely to create a situation where the playing field is perceived as skewed - conservative reaction is held back, whilst liberal viewpoints are allowed to claim too much territory... It creates the question in many minds, "Why should we wait, if others are not showing the same restraint?"
Bruno then cuts to the chase: Your property belongs to me.
It is both my pastoral and fiduciary responsibility as your Bishop, in concert with the Standing Committee, to protect and preserve the properties of these congregations as part of the Diocese of Los Angeles. The consecrated buildings of each of our congregations rightfully belong to the Episcopal Church in this Diocese and in the USA.
He then proceeds, for good measure, to call those on the other side of this debate morons:
They have stated that this Church is not orthodox biblically or theologically. How wrong they are. I want you to know as your Bishop that I continue to uphold the vows I made on the day of my consecration "to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church." I believe today as I did when I was first ordained that the Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation. Yet I will not let the Holy Scriptures be compromised by those who seek to make their literalist and simplistic interpretation the only legitimate one.
In other words, folks, this is indeed the Church of Anything Goes. Anything, that is, except resistance to the revisionist agenda.

Update: PlanetOut reports on the split unity in the church (Warning: Images of wholesome, holy lifestyles).



A Pastoral Letter from the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles

This letter shall be read at every service in all churches of this diocese and made available to all members of our congregations this Sunday, August 22, 2004.

August 17, 2004

To my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Diocese of Los Angeles:

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus. You may already have heard that two congregations in this Diocese, St. James' Episcopal Church in Newport Beach and All Saints' Episcopal Church in Long Beach, have informed me of the decisions made by their rectors, wardens and vestries to leave the Episcopal Church and to join the Diocese of Luwero in the Anglican Province of Uganda, and that clergy of these churches were now under the bishop of that diocese. The rectors of these congregations appeared unexpectedly, and without an appointment, at the Cathedral Center on Tuesday morning, August 17, and delivered written notice of their actions. They also left a voice-mail message for me and seem to have believed that this served as sufficient communication with me.

The Reverends Praveen Bunyan, William Thompson and Richard Menees, priests, and the Rev. Kathleen Adams, deacon, all of whom are clergy of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and canonically resident in this Diocese, have therefore abandoned the communion of this Church. I temporarily inhibited these clergy immediately and requested that the two rectors of the congregations meet with me to rescind their decision. They refused this invitation. Subsequently, I called for an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee and, in accordance with the canons of this church, the Standing Committee has informed me in writing that there is sufficient evidence that these clergy have abandoned the communion and I have responded by inhibiting them from the exercise of the ordained ministry. Should they wish to return to the communion of this Church during this period, a process of restoration will take place. Should they not change their minds, they will be deposed. My sincere hope for these clergy and vestries is that they will reconsider their decision and return to full communion with me, the Episcopal Church and indeed with the Anglican Communion.

All of my actions have been in consultation with the office of the Presiding Bishop, the Standing Committee and our diocesan chancellors. I have also written a letter of protest to the Bishop of the Diocese of Luwero with a copy to the Primate of the Province of Uganda. I have also asked the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury to intervene in this breach of trust and authority.

I have chosen to take the extraordinary step of writing to you in a pastoral letter because of the extreme nature of the decision these congregations and clergy have made and the implications it has on our life together, not only for the Episcopal Church in the USA, but for the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Our Constitution and Canons help to bring order to our common life in the Episcopal Church. Recall that much of our current crisis arose after the General Convention of the Church last summer. The decision to assent to the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire was made, in large part, because that diocese duly elected a bishop in accordance with the canons of this Church. Both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies attested to the authority of that diocese to elect its own bishop, that it had been done appropriately and that their decision was based on the quality of Bishop Robinson's life and experience. As a Church, we seek, whenever possible, to allow autonomy in decision-making to individual dioceses. Each Bishop in every diocese has authority over the life and work of that diocese, its congregations and clergy. The Bishop's ministry is based in our belief that in any given place, there is one Bishop, who continues the work of the holy apostles and is the chief priest, pastor and teacher in that diocese. Priests exercise their ministry on behalf of their Bishop and only under the Bishop's authority. No bishop outside the diocese has the jurisdiction to oversee ministry within that geographical diocese. The fact that a bishop from another autonomous church within the Anglican Communion has chosen to exercise oversight in this diocese flies in the face of our ethos as Anglicans and of the catholic unity of the Church. It is a clear statement that the Diocese of Luwero and its Bishop and the Province of Uganda and its Primate have broken with the established historic authority of the Anglican Communion.

This is all the more troubling because for some time now an international commission of the Anglican Communion, established by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been hard at work attempting to respond pastorally to some of the concerns of more conservative members of the Communion who are troubled by the decisions of our last General Convention and by the blessing of same-sex unions taking place in the Church in Canada. The final report of this commission is due out in approximately one month. How disappointing that our congregations would make such a decision at such an inopportune time. Moreover, I have attempted to honor the congregations and clergy who have dissented from the decisions of General Convention and even offered them the oversight of a bishop of our Church whose opinions on these issues are more in keeping with theirs. The rectors of these congregations did not avail themselves of this opportunity and even up to two weeks ago affirmed their love and loyalty to me as their Bishop. How distressing their recent decision has been to me.

It is both my pastoral and fiduciary responsibility as your Bishop, in concert with the Standing Committee, to protect and preserve the properties of these congregations as part of the Diocese of Los Angeles. The consecrated buildings of each of our congregations rightfully belong to the Episcopal Church in this Diocese and in the USA. I also have a pastoral responsibility to all those of Christ's flock entrusted to my care and am developing plans for the pastoral care of those members of our Church in these congregations who seek to maintain their loyalty to this Church.

Perhaps more than any other time I have felt that I am not alone through this troubling time, not only because similar events have been taking place in other parts of our Church, but principally because I have been contacted by our Presiding Bishop's office and by many other bishops in our Church bringing words of encouragement and support, along with the other bishops in our diocese with whom I have been in contact. Yet even more than these, the messages of your prayers and love from around the Diocese have heartened me. I cannot thank you enough.

Finally, apart from the issue of sexuality, these clergy have also framed their leaving in terms I find unfair and false. They have stated that this Church is not orthodox biblically or theologically. How wrong they are. I want you to know as your Bishop that I continue to uphold the vows I made on the day of my consecration "to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church." I believe today as I did when I was first ordained that the Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation. Yet I will not let the Holy Scriptures be compromised by those who seek to make their literalist and simplistic interpretation the only legitimate one. Further, I uphold the orthodox faith given to us by the apostles in all the essentials laid down in the historic creeds of the Church. In these necessary things there must be unity of faith, but in other things there may be diversity within this roomy house we call the Anglican Communion. Please join with me at this time as you are gathered at the Lord's Table in praying for these congregations, our Diocese, and for the whole Church. Let us pray:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted by Greg Griffith at August 18, 2004 08:47 PM (GMT -6:00)
Comments

The General Convention voted to do an extraordinary thing last summer. It was an act that threw the entire Anglican Communion into dissarray. Across the American Church, parishes and dioceses, have experienced tremendous pain and loss. These two parishes in the diocese of Los Angeles have withdrawn from that diocese as a way of protecting themselves. Perhaps it was premature. Surely Bishop Bruno could take some responsibility on his broad shoulders for this mess, or is this simply further evidence that the left end of the church only cares for one side in this fight? If after the Lambeth Commission issues its report, would that be a better time to withdraw or will legal action be taken no matter what the commission reports, no matter how provoked conservatives feel, no matter how many doctrines of the church and tradition is despoiled?

# Posted by: Christopher Colby at August 19, 2004 08:25 AM

Well, golly gee whiz! Just imagine my surprise at the content and tone of Bp.Bruno's letter. This is just a foreshadowing (I hope) of what is going to be happening all over ECUSA if the Eames Commission does't take some kind of meaningful action against ECUSA. Where was his "restraint" when he participated in "same sex blessings" despite the pleas of the majority of the Anglican communion to wait until after the Eames Commission report was issued? When you are dumb enough to throw gasoline on a fire, you shouldn't bitch when you get burned.

# Posted by: Michael Ware at August 19, 2004 11:24 AM

The only surprise here would have been if Bruno had elected the high road. Not to worry, he clung to the low road. It will be an answered prayer if the courts are able to see the fact that ECUSA leaving the Anglican Communion behind changes the legal argument. Let us pray that unless something changes very, very soon many, many more will be celebrating the faith far removed from the stench of ECUSA.

# Posted by: Jackie at August 19, 2004 11:28 PM

Well, will the General Convention next exclude that Coveteousness, because "everyone does it anyway?"

And it has become our "alternate lifestyle?"

And we need to promote those who covet their neighbor's wife (or husband) to priests and bishops as an example as to how others should behave, and who would be well qualified to guide parishoners in proper behavior toward their neighbors.

Or is it still a good moral goal of behavior that we all should strive for even if some fall?

# Posted by: MasterServer at August 20, 2004 03:45 PM

Dang!

I forgot to mention that I was BORN with a tendency to Covet. That is the way God made me. I can't help it!


MasterServer

# Posted by: MasterServer at August 20, 2004 04:29 PM

Dang!

You know something else? I just can't help Coveting, because when I do I have a comfortable feeling. Surely it was meant to be. It is just so self satisfying. And when I meet a fellow closet Coveter, we find mutual satisfaction and gratification. Surely this is natural and meant to be.

# Posted by: MasterServer at August 20, 2004 04:34 PM

And you know what? I bet there are a lot of people out there that would like to come out of their closet and Covet.

We really should pass some sort of Resolution.

Wouldn't that make it ok?

# Posted by: MasterServer at August 20, 2004 04:36 PM

MasterServer, are you saying that you have a covetous *Orientation*? Because I don't think, catch me if I'm wrong, that the bible EVER mentions anything about a covetous orientation. And besides, there are only a handful of passages that really speak of coveting negatively. The cultural context was one in which people had far fewer goods than we do today, being prior to the scientific age, the industrial revolution and the specialization of labor, not to mention automation! So many went without back then. But today, we have so much, you can really covet all you want and it doesn't hurt anyone, at least in America. Perhaps in Africa where they don't have as advanced or have as many things as we have, the cultural context is different and covetousness would still be bad. We do live in tension in this thing we call Communion don't we?

Now that I think about it, I would like to affirm and accept, heck even bless and celebrate, your covetousness with you! May the creator, spirit, liberator bless you.

By the way...perhaps this is a good time to affirm who I am. I have come to see that I too am special and that I have a orientation of pride, that god made me this way and that (s)he in fact loves my pride, that (s)he is actually Proud of my Pride. If it weren't for his(er) love, I could never have come to celebrate and be proud of my pride the way I have. Talk about a parade! I love that we have an inclusive god.

Proud of you!
Prideful

# Posted by: Prideful at August 20, 2004 09:08 PM

I was going to say someting about my natural, inbred, orienation, too. But it sounds like a lot of work...

# Posted by: sloth at August 21, 2004 12:18 AM

I was going to say something about my natural, inbred, orienation, too. But it sounds like a lot of work...

I may try again some other time.

# Posted by: sloth at August 21, 2004 12:19 AM

To Sloth -- Touché!

Proudfully yours

# Posted by: Prideful at August 21, 2004 07:36 PM

I was born with a compulsive-obsessive disorder and a co-dependent personality.

I'm also an alcoholic.

God made me this way, and these orientations are what make me me. And God don't make no junk.

Sho I am no longer sheeking to rise above my compulsions, obsessions, dependencies and addicition. Inshtead, I shelebrate them and take pride in them. [Hiccup!]

They are sh-sh-acramental to me.

Cheersh![Hiccup!]

# Posted by: nick the greek at August 22, 2004 09:48 AM

Nick,
You are avoiding the real issues, but then you would, if you're drunk. Sober up and come back and talk. Your compulsions--and I realize you are putting on to make a point--are destroying your liver and your mind. The sexual orientation of gay and lesbian people is toward love and intergration--not destruction, except of your incredibly narrow view of God. Sorry--no comparision there.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 22, 2004 06:16 PM

Ahhh, Schnauzer... but you miss the Greek's point: Homosexual behavior and drunkenness are both condemned in Scripture. And if we are to give one condition a pass because it is one to which a person is genetically predisposed, then we must give them both a pass.

But as to the "facts" of your reasoning, once again George Woodliff rides to the rescue. Quoting from Jeffrey Satinover, he begins:

---
“What would you think if a relative, friend, or colleague had a condition that is routinely, even if not always, associated with the following problems:

* A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage
* A five- to ten-year decrease in life expectancy
* Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease–hepatitis
* Inevitably fatal esophageal cancer
* Pneumonia
* Internal bleeding
* Serious mental disabilities, many of which are irreversible
* A much higher than usual incidence of suicide
*A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated
* An only 30 percent likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected population of sufferers (although a very high success rate among highly motivated, carefully selected sufferers) [Satinover, p. 49-50]

Satinover then adds:

“We can add four qualifications to this unnamed condition. First, even though its origins are influenced by genetics, the condition is, strictly speaking, rooted in behavior. Second, individuals who have this condition continue the behavior in spite of the destructive consequences of doing so. Third, although some people with this condition perceive it as a problem and wish they could rid themselves of it, many others deny they have any problem at all and violently resist all attempts to ‘help’ them. And fourth, these people who resist help tend to socialize with one another, sometimes exclusively, and form a kind of ‘subculture.’

The condition which Satinover was describing is alcoholism. It is a form of addictive behavior which most people believe is worth treating, because of its terribly adverse consequences on a person’s life. Then Satinover poses a similar situation in which a friend or colleague had a condition associated with the following problems:

“* A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage
* A twenty-five to thirty-year decrease in life expectancy
* Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease–infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer
* Inevitably fatal immune disease including associated cancers
* Frequently fatal rectal cancer
* Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases
* A much higher than usual incidence of suicide
* A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is
* An at least 50 percent likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected group of sufferers (although a very high success rate, in some instances nearing 100%, for groups of highly motivated, carefully selected individuals)

As with alcoholism: First, even though its origins may be influenced by genetics, the condition is, strictly speaking, a pattern of behavior; second, individuals who have this condition continue in the behavior in spite of the destructive consequences of doing so; third, although some people with this condition perceive it as a problem and wish they could rid themselves of it, many others deny they have any problem at all and violently resist all attempts to ‘help’ them; and fourth, some of the people with this condition–especially those who deny it is a problem–tend to socialize almost exclusively with one another and form a ‘subculture.’

The condition is homosexuality. Yet despite the parallels between the two conditions, what is striking today are the sharply different responses to them.”

---

So I question your assumption of one being the path toward destruction, but not the other.

# Posted by: Greg Griffith at August 22, 2004 07:37 PM

Greg,

Yes, but most of the second set of adverse conditions constitute an argument that works only for sexually promiscuous males. As for the suicide rate, we might surmise that would drop if the culture in which homosexuals find themselves didn't condemn them for being themselves and demand special fasting and repentence in order to be in communion with the other 45% or so of Christians who still condemn.

The "conversion" rate stats are so widely divergent as to be worthless--Satinover comes up with rates of up to 50%, then others come up with overwhelming recidivism rates in those very cases.They also don't find that 50%, but much smaller numbers--a tiny minority.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 23, 2004 07:18 AM

Yes, "conversion" stats do vary widely depending on the source. Fortunately, there is a scientific study using all the standard research criteria for surveying this kind of thing being conducted as we speak. The results should be published in the next couple of years. It is my understanding that the results of this study will scientifically prove that change is much higher than the gay lobby has been willing to admit. And yes, change through therapy without Jesus is far lower and has much higher rates of recividism than therapy with Jesus -- the healer of our souls.

As to conservative Christians condemning homosexuals, this does happen. But does anyone take these minority fringe christians seriously? These same christians condemn Roman Catholics for being Roman Catholic, and protestants in the mainline denominations for whatever else they can think of. The vast majority of Christians who hold to traditional teachings on sexuality almost never speak in words of condemnation to homosexuals but rather words of repentance in strong words of love. Because they know that they are sinners as well. If they were to condemn gays for being sinners, they would be condemning themselves.

As to suicide rates, I think they are actually higher in gay communities where acceptance is high. (But I can't recall my source for this.) Though to be fair, suicide is high among gay teens in their families of origin.

If you could find a group of monogamous homosexuals in long term relationships their stats may be a bit better. However, many so called long term gay relationships either fall apart or move toward becoming "open" relationships. This is not the same for lesbians who tend to practice medium to long term serial monogamy - sort of like heterosexual relationships in general today.

# Posted by: at August 24, 2004 10:07 AM

I'll be interesting to read the results--I hope we can get them minus "spin," from any quarter.

"But does anyone take these minority fringe christians seriously?" Maybe you don't if you are straight. They are definately both hurtful and frightening, believe me. "Christians" marching around with signs that say "God Hates Fags," is definately scarey. And people like Phelps gets media attention--so,who's to say that some red-blooded american christian isn't doing God and country a favor by eliminating a couple of the vermin here and there? One of my dreams was to hike and camp the Appalachian trail. Recently I learned that within the past 20 years, 3 gay couples have been murdered or seriously shot at along the trail for no other reason than they were gay. There may be more, who knows. Maybe that's not a lot, but it's enough to scare me and my loved one's off the hike.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 24, 2004 12:34 PM

Some numbers from the FBI:
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, there were 9,730 hate crime incidents reported to the FBI in 2001. The largest category was for race (58 percent), followed by religion (17 percent), sexual orientation (14 percent) and ethnicity (11 percent). There were 1,353 incidents motivated by sexual orientation bias in 2001. Reports of incidents of hate crimes based on sexual orientation rose 8 percent from 1993 to 2000, with only a slight decrease in 2001.

Despite a 2 percent decline in reported serious crime overall, the FBI's Hate Crime Statistics Report (Feb. 13, 2001), hate crimes based on sexual orientation have continued to rise and increased 4.5 percent form 1997 to 1999. Reported hate crime incidents based on sexual orientation have more than tripled since the FBI began collecting statistics in 1991--comprising 16.7 percent, or 1,317 of all hate crimes for 1999. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation continue to make up the third highest category after race and religion.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 24, 2004 12:51 PM

Schnauz,

Get to the point.

# Posted by: Greg Griffith at August 24, 2004 01:13 PM

Greg,

As I said before, my comments are directed to someone's (no name offered) comment: "But does anyone take these minority fringe christians seriously?" My point is YES, they do, and with good reason.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 24, 2004 02:36 PM

Phred Phelps and the "GodHatesFags" Westboro church are to mainstream christians what the NAMBLA pedophiles are to mainstream homosexuals: A small fringe group of scary characters that we all wish would just go away - they taint us with guilt by association.

Instead of helping our respective causes, groups like these just provide much painful ammunition for our opponents.

I'm often accused of being in that camp, being a somewhat "scary" blogger myself, but no. Not for a moment. You see I know that God LOVES fags, and murderers, pedophiles, adulterers, drunkards, lyars, and idolaters etc. "Such were some of you..."

Our sins are painful to Him, and He expects and deserves better from each of us.

# Posted by: Marty at August 24, 2004 02:44 PM

Shnauzerkin, I should have been more precise. Taking precautions against scary maniacs who hurt and kill people is a right thing to do. There are whole inner-city neighborhoods that I do not walk because I am white. But to characterize a huge number of Christians as condeming gay people is not right. You wrote: "...in order to be in communion with the other 45% or so of Christians who still condemn." It is incorrect to characterize Christians that way. They do not condemn gays. The exception, the "God hates fags people", are not to be taken seriously as representing Christians. Following your type of generalizations I would have to say that most black people want to beat me up and or kill me because of dangers in the inner-city. Today, people call that racism. Your comments are akin to anti-traditional-christian-ism. Your unfair discrimination is no more acceptable than simple racism.

# Posted by: at August 24, 2004 03:29 PM

I understand what you're saying--but think, there aren't blacks out there carrying signs. Besides, I was simply responding to your question, does anyone take Phelps seriously--and the answer is yes, I do. I'm not anti-traditional Christian--just anti anyone who thinks God hates me or those I love. Or condemns anyone out of hand, be they black, white, old, young, traditional or liberal, you know. Phelps gives me a "hunted" feeling, and he certainly does "hunt" what he considers "pro-gay" events, even funerals at which to spew his hatred.

I overreacted and overstated--I really don't think 45% of Christians "condemn" gay people. The words I hear mostly are "don't approve." Still, it hurts me that the traditional Church doesn't stand more strongly with it's gay and lesbian members. The traditional view leaves room for outright condemnation by the poorly informed.

Marty, thanks for your post.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkind at August 24, 2004 03:53 PM

BTW, that's why I added the FBI reports that hate crimes re sexual orientation are on the rise. I wonder if people feel we're undercutting or disrespecting God and Church by virtue of who we are (celibate or practicing--and you can't tell by looking usually.) The whole thing saddens me deeply.

# Posted by: Schnauzerkin at August 24, 2004 03:58 PM

"The traditional view leaves room for outright condemnation by the poorly informed." - yes, I agree. It can.

Traditionalists can slide from preaching transformation through Christ crucified to a church of moralisms that is not Christianity but legalism bereft of compassion and true Christian love. This has always happened in the church and causes good people to react and swing into the opposite ditch in the road.

Phelps, I assume, is one of these compassionless legalists. I did not mention him, but described hateful people that call themselves Christian.

# Posted by: at August 25, 2004 09:16 AM

Sorry, "I" is the blank name guy of three entries - previously "Name Withheld+"

# Posted by: at August 25, 2004 09:20 AM